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Picking plants that have the proper personality

Looking for plants with personality? Plant and seed companies such as Proven Winners and Burpee have some fun ways of describing the flowers, vegetables and other products featured on their websites.

I read how one plant really “swaggers” in containers.

And how a certain dahlia gives other plants “an inferiority complex.”

How, one wonders, will Superbells Hollywood Star – a Calibrachoa hybrid – behave around existing plants?

Will it pout because it’s not close enough to see its reflection in the gazing ball?

Then again, Proven Winners describes the plant as having “Good looks AND personality!” (PW’s capital letters, not mine.) So perhaps everyone will get along.

Perhaps you want to seek out a plant with a freewheeling name such as Shadowland ‘Wheee!’ – a hosta described as “delightfully fun, extremely ruffled.”

Looking for something more effortlessly chic? Proven Winners describes Angelface Perfectly Pink – a summer snapdragon – as “FANCY, yet UNFUSSY.” There are those caps again.

That’s not all. Burpee turns vegetables into some real characters.

A 5-inch-wide SuperSauce hybrid tomato? “The new tomato superhero. A whole lot bigger, a whole lot better, a Roma with aroma.”

A Super Sugar Snap pea? “We call these our ‘Renaissance peas’ because of their virtuoso versatility.”

And, by all means, clear the way for this Burpee exclusive: “Hail, the new Zucchini King, the new triple-crowner ruler of the zucchini patch.”

Of course, when you think about it, plants – like people – do have a wide range of personality traits.

“Is your plant a wallflower or the life of the party?” read the headline on a story once written by Laura Crockett in Fine Gardening magazine.

She wrote about plants that come across as relaxed, charismatic, reliable, edgy and sociable.

So think about that – in addition to site requirements, etc. – when selecting new plants this season.


The shed that Jim Charlier built. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

Not to be missed

Jim and Leslie Charlier’s garden is featured in an eight-page spread in the June issue of This Old House – with the online version showing even more photos. It was photographed last summer, and the article is called “A Magical Garden in Buffalo.”

Visitors who have stopped by the Charliers’ Lancaster Avenue garden during Garden Walk Buffalo know it’s a memorable one.

Highlights include a whimsical potting shed built by Jim Charlier; a kitchen (potager) garden; a Harry Potter garden; hanging mirrors draped with Dutchman’s pipe, clematis and Akebia vines, and a checkerboard garden created with concrete pavers and grass.

Jim Charlier, past president of Garden Walk Buffalo, noted that Charlotte Barnard, who was the This Old House features editor at the time, is a Buffalonian.

This is not the first national publication that has featured the Charliers. Backyard Solutions and Fine Gardening are just two others. Check out his blog at

[PHOTO GALLERY: The Charlier garden was featured in The Buffalo News in August 2016]


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